As a Holocaust survivor I learned early in life about what really matters: Acts of kindness; a healthy spirit; and a strong connection to family and community. These are the real gifts in life.
It is not easy for me to talk about my experiences in Germany surviving the camps. Yet I know how important it is to share our stories so that future generations never forget. The Holocaust was an unspeakable, tragic period in our history and in my life. Yet luck was with me. I survived.
And when I was liberated — literally on a train to yet another camp — I knew I'd be okay because my spirit and love of life were still alive.
A little bit of luck can go a long way in giving someone a chance in life. I thank G-d everyday for all my blessings. My life in Toronto has been rich. I come from a wonderful family and over the years have had my own beautiful family to celebrate life with: my wife, Jennie, my three children, Stephen, Cindy and Larry and five terrific grandchildren. I also appreciate the generosity of spirit that the Toronto Jewish community shares. It's wonderful to be here.
Because of all this, I believe that for me Tzedakah is about giving others a chance so they, too, can enjoy more of their life. Not everyone is so lucky. Those that are, must share. No matter how little or much. Sharing goes a long way.
“It pays to give”, my father, Edmund, would say. My parents were very generous with everything they had and never missed an opportunity to help anyone in need.
While we have always worked hard for every cent we ever earned, we know that in life, joy comes not necessarily from the — having' — but rather from the “giving”.
Give of your heart. Give of your soul. More than a mitzvah, it will elevate your spirit. What better reward can one ask for?